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Dodgers: Joe Kelly Expected to Pitch Again in Regular Season

Mystery ailment keeps fireballer sidelined.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 22: Joe Kelly #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the 11th inning agaisnt the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Dodgers won 5-4 in 11 innings. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly hasn’t appeared in a game for the Dodgers since September 18th. Moreover, he hasn’t completed a full inning pitched since September 11th. When asked about Kelly’s status, manager Dave Roberts has offered little in tangible ailments for the relief pitcher. Instead, Doc has chosen “general soreness” as a descriptor.

Kelly hasn’t pitched much lately and it turns out that the trend will continue.

After a stretch where the right-hander was one of the best relievers in baseball (1.29 ERA over 29 games), his last handful of outings have been less than ideal (5 ER, 5.1 IP). The numbers seem to lineup with a “nagging injury,” but still Roberts feels that Kelly would be ready today if it were a playoff game.

His body is responding well. He’s in a good place… We feel good about it. He could pitch right now. We’re managing where he’s at so we can look out for four weeks and make sure he can handle the workload.

As part of his pre-game media availability on Wednesday, the manager also offered a light at the end of the regular season tunnel.

However, Wednesday night’s game against the Padres may have been something of a sneak peak in terms of a contingency plan if Kelly is unable to answer the bell.

Dustin May shut down the Padres on 11 pitches, punctuated by a 98.8mph fastball, the fastest recorded velocity of his young MLB career.

Kelly is in the first year of a 3-year deal signed last off-season. In 54 games, the righty has a 4.62 ERA in 50.2 IP. His FIP sits at a much more respectable 3.79 in 2019.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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